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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 6, 2013 8:30am-10:31am EST

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ultimately, the reason we are here is to represent those who work the land each and every day to provide the highest quality agriculture products of anybody in the world. it's important to the farmers and ranchers of georgia as well as to farmers and ranchers all across this great nation that we uphold the strength of the safety net that american agriculture depends on in this farm bill. we have the opportunity to write a bill that is equal to their commitment to provide the highest quality food, feed, and fiber in the world. mr. chairman, i have a much lengthier statement i'd ask unanimous consent to insert in the record. with that, i look forward to working with the conferees in the weeks ahead. >> so ordered. the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. >> thank you. after five long years of waiting to get to this conference committee, i am very happy we're here to now try to resolve our differences between the house and senate farm bills. i'm also honored to be working
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with each one of you to try to craft a long-term piece of legislation to guide our nation's farmers and ranchers and give them the certitude they need. my home state is the home of over 48,000 farms, and we have over $1 billion in farm exports a year. so this is a pretty big deal to us. i'm honored they gave me an opportunity to be here and work on it. we strongly prefer to keep the usda food safety and inspection service catfish inspection program. in addition, the setting of target prices, which are vital to many alabama farmers. i also support giving the livestock industry relief from the troublesome mandatory country of origin labeling mandates. the negotiations we face will be tough, and i am certain that not any conferee is going to go home with everything they want. but it's important that we be responsible stewards of the
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taxpayers' dollars by maintaining the programs that are working and reforming those that don't. i believe we can work through these differences in a timely and bipartisan manner to achieve real results that will help our agriculture industry over the next five years. hopefully our efforts will demonstrate that congress can function on behalf of the greater good of our nation, and i look forward to working with each of you be. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio, senator brown. >> i thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate the leadership of senator stabenow, senator cochran and the doggedness of chairman lucas. the act of 2013 is a bipartisan reform bill that provides tangible and workable solutions that continue our commitment to the hungry, to rural communities and the land and saving taxpayers $24 billion. over the past two years, i've held a series of round tables, perhaps two dozen of them, in
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ohio where i've asked farmers to tell me what this year's farm bill should look like. ohio's farmers did more than give opinions. they came up with specific answers, gave me insight and guidance and valuable suggestions. they told me that they don't need and don't want direct payments, so i worked with my friend senator thune to improve the safety net and ensure farm production and planting decisions are determined by the market and not by the government program. simply put, ohio's corn and soybean farmers must have a program that decouples target prices from planted acres. that's why i strongly support the senate's commodity title. senate's rural development energy titles provide the mandatory funding and reforms needed to ensure that our nation's rural communities have the tools they need to succeed. the bill incorporates many portions of the local farms, food, and jobs act that will promote and increase local food production and sales. the bill also rightly links taxpayer support for crop
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insurance to farmers' land management practices and reduces premium support for those farmers who net over $750,000 per year. these are conservation practices that as senator harkin said most farmers are already doing. this is good bipartisan work. i expect we can resolve the differences around these farm programs. we always work these differences out in farm bills bipartisanly. what i'm most concerned about is whether the house -- that the house cuts to s.n.a.p. funding will prevent us from completing work on the farm bill that america's rural communities need. the house's indiscriminate s.n.a.p. cuts would harm literally millions of children and seniors and those with disabilities and many of those who hold low-income jobs and veterans. the house's provisions will cut s.n.a.p. payments simply because there aren't enough jobs out there. is that the kind of nation we are? are these the kinds of policies
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we need? is that what we stand for? our farmers feed the world. they're proud to do that. but the house is seeking to break a decade's old bond between farmers and those americans who are hungry. i look forward to working with my fellow conferees on a bill that follows the senate's title one reforms, that strengthens the farm safety net and that reaffirms this committee's long, bipartisan tradition of farm and food policy. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. wallace. >> thank you, chairman and to our ranking members, to all my colleagues for getting us to this point. i'd like to thank the staffers who for years have also worked to bring this and make it possible. and to those stake holders. this is truly a unifying piece of legislation, always has been and will be again. i think listening to the chairwoman a unified conference with a unified bill will go at least a little ways toward bringing back some faith and
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restore the american public's faith that we can govern. and we are a people of vision. we're a people of big vision. we think big ideas. this farm bill doesn't have to be the exception to that. we can solve the things we need to solve, but i think we need to look down the road. this bill gives us that opportunity. we have to look at those programs that support economic promise, economic growth. one of those last year, renewable energies on track to average 8.3% growth. those represent tens of thousands of american jobs. we spend over $1 billion a day importing oil from countries that hate us. they'll hate us for free. keep those jobs in janesville, minnesota. keep it on the land where we have things going. in the energy title, the demand far outstrips the supply. we have thousands of people waiting. when the market is fair and open, our producers are trying to access that. they're trying to do that. and so i encourage my colleagues to look what our colleagues in the senate did and get mandatory
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funding to this. it will come back to us economically. it will come back to us in jobs and national security. we also have to look long term in demographics. 9 billion people on the planet soon. that's a 60% increase in food that we need to have. the american farmer averages 57 years old. the average web producer is a little under 35. you can't eat websites. we've got folks that are coming that are going to have to do that. our policies make a difference on who's on the land. so i encourage my colleagues in both the house and the senate we have robust beginning farmer and rancher legislation that focuses on education and building the capacity for the future. it also does some smart things to have set asides in some of these programs to make sure a new person on the land can access those things. i would certainly encourage us to come together. we're very close on that. keep those programs in there. once again, that builds our capacity for the future. in looking at capacity for the future, the land is our truly great resource.
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our producers are some of the best stewards of the land. but just like in all other things, we need to give them the tools they need to preserve that land. we need to make sure that conservation title is fully funded and we look visionary on those working lands to make sure we're not making the choices for those producers. they have the right to make the choice that works best for them. but make it both economically smart and people have proven they will take advantage of that. i would like to compliment my colleague from south dakota, who has worked with us on sod saver legislation that i think is visionary on lands that haven't been broken yet. save $200 million. and also let us look at a whole other side industry on the land. outdoorsmen, hunters, fishermen, people who take advantage of that. it's a $3.5 billion industry in minnesota alone. we can come to compromises. we can have vision. we can think big. we can compromise. we can clothe the world. and we can fuel the world if we get our work done here. i would agree with my colleagues on this.
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we have no choice but to get this right. we have no choice but to come together. the good news is once we do it, the producers will do what they do best, feed, clothe, and fuel the world. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the distinguished je nan from arkansas, senator bose man. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure that you're all as relieved as i am to be here today, beginning a conference process that will complete the work of a farm bill that will continue providing the american people with the safest, most affordable, most reliable food supply that the world has ever known. the path has not been easy, and we still have some differences to work out, but this is the work that must be done. rural america, our farmers, fa ranchers, forestry, stake holders, manufacturers, retailers and the most vulnerable members of our communities are counting on us
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to provide the five years of certainty they need to plan for the future. of equal importance the immaterial pact this legislation has on our economy. in arkansas, agriculture provided over $17 billion in value added to our state's economy in 2011. it makes up more than 16% of arkansas's gdp. arkansas's agriculture is diverse. and we are in the top 25 states of production in 24 different commodities including rice, honey, and corn for blueberries. our nation, as a whole, has even more diversity in crops with grow. whether it's cherries in michigan, wheat from the great plains, peanuts from oklahoma in georgia -- actually, you can get peanuts from arkansas now -- or dairy from minnesota. this diversity requires a day versz set of risk management tools that meet the challenges that all of our producers face
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for every crop and region. crop insurance is an important tool for our farmers to manage the risk, but it's not the only one. other tools must be responsive from shallow losses and cognizant of deep to invest in the future, enable the next generation to enter farming and to provide opportunities for our veterans to work the land. we need to make sure that our research and scientific infrastructure is strong to protect our families and crops from bacteria, weather and disease. we need to make sure that our programs protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities maintain integrity and the support of the public while meeting the needs of those that they're designed to serve.
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we started this process years ago. and looking back, our differences are much greater than they are today. congressman lucas and ranking member senator peterson as well as the members of both committees, we are much closer to our goal of the five-year reaut riization of our critical programs ensuring food security for the most vulnerable families. i know that we will succeed in our efforts and i look forward to working with all of you to resolve any differences that may remain in doing the work thatfa agriculturers so deserve. >> mr. conaway? >> thank you, mr. chairman. nchtsd . >> i also want to let
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everyone -- i appreciate my colleagues in both chambers who have worked so hard to get us to this point, particularly the chairman, who's been challenged like j,obe in the old testmente. first, we are running and accumulating -- we are running dangerous deaf sits or accumulating debt that will never get paid off. cutting the budget needs to be one of our highest priorities. both have worked on legislation that deals with this issue in a small way to reduce plant spending over the life of this farm bill. the trouble is, even if we do pass this farm bill with significant savings, we're a very small slice of a huge budget problem. i am hopeful that other committees in congress will be able to follow the lead that both agriculture committees have set and followed our example. second, we better not screw up crop insurance. crop insurance has already been reduced by some $17 billion in
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spending since 2008. for my money, that's enough. crop insurance is about all my cutting farmers have left. everyone insurance proposal has been cut during these negotiations. so that is a fool'ser rand. third, we need a very strong commodity title. we've gotten this far in the farm bill process with zero thanks to the groups we've recklessly obsessed during this issue. they also need to know that they both use plants and acres while capping them at different levels. why are both chambers taking this approach?
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because we're tired of paying people who are not even farming. both bills address this probably by letting farmers grow whatever they want. we want to plak sure that the farm bill benefit that follow that is decision. we know from the official economic analysis that congress relies on this approach results in infinitesimal effect on planning decisions. about one tenth of one percent. we know that every single option on the table is treated the same desz piet the ret ricket to the contrary. no option has any advantage over any other options. if price/loss ratios do not pay out, the shallow loss programs will then be the targeted programs by the wt or brazil or perhaps others. with all due respect, farmer's groups are building a case for wto challenge against our country's foreign policies are not exactly exercising the
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wisdom of solomen. i'm not so much concerned about the plant spending that will be reduced, as is getting policy that is promote work and dignity in this effort. the house bill would return a food stamp policy to work in order to self food stamp benefits. i recognize that perception sometimes trumps reality to this town. but i hope we can settle while asking people to work the return for food stamp programs is not any form of cruel or unusual punishment. the dignity of work has long been a common theme throughout all the ages. finally, throughout the conference, i'll be working to avoid facing undue regulatory burdens. rep zen tich costa is to finally put the gypsa debate to rest, which as we now understand
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being a pretty fouled experiment. i look forward to a success chl treatment of this farm bill as we move forward in the next five years. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from minnesota. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i want to first thing our incredible chairman, senator stabinaw. she's just bringing us together. hundreds of votes on the senate floor. we did this the right way. chairman lucacsa, any friend of is a friend of mine. and, of course, representative peterson, when i first started running for the u.s. senate, i called representative peterson and asked if he'd sit down with me for half an hour. i drove four hours and he sat down with me for two hours and i
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had all of my charts and he finally just said put those away. all the farnlers want is a fair deal and stability and there's about 11 people in the country that really understand this and ten of them live in north dakota. i did that for you, hogan. and i quickly realized the other person was colin peterson. no matter where i go in our state, i'm always reminded of the critical role that agriculture plays on our economy. minnesota is number one in turkeys. we're excited about thanksgiving. we are number one in sweet corns and green peas and oats and we are number three in soybeans and number four in corn. we are also the home of some major agricultural committee that is care about this bill. co-ops like chs and land-o-lakes. so it malters to our entire state.
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being home last week, i think many of us learned that american people are sick and tired of people standing in the opposite corners of the boxing ring swinging punches. this is our opportunity to get something good out of the chaos to move forward and to do something good for the country. issues that i care about, first of all, something many people have raised, signed a bill in $24 billion in debt reduction. we see people that are not everyone from farm country looking at these bills. i think that's key. third, we have streamlined the conservation programs from 23 to 13. our numbers are very similar. i think that's important. representative walls and i introduced the senate that's in our bill that we're proud of. recognition of the importance of
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crop ininsurance to the program with the support of many groups, ingluding the narnl farmer's union, national corn growers. it was quite a group. and we look forward to working with the house on that. i know senator hogan will address some of the work we've done with conservation challenges like flooding. we also have limited dreblgt pachlts. we've formed the commodity program by strengtsenning some of the payment limits to make sure that the people eligible are farmers. not urban million theirs. and i and i also strongly support renewable energy as we look at our successful, reduced dependence on foreign oil. from 6 to-40%.
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there's something about biofuel that is have been very important to this change. the importance of the snap program. especially important is hard-working families and seniors still need to put food on the table. as you know, the senate needed much-needed reforms to the bill. we looked forward to working with you on this but i don't think is this is the time to make deep, deep cuts to the program. i'm just end with this, a call that i just got into my office over the weekend. and a guy named greg schwartz is a farmer down in lasora, minnesota. he was hard at work. he called from his combine. he left this message for us. we have been working on this farm bill for over two years now. we just want to get it done.
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farmers are working around the clock on this year's hashest. if you don't hear from us, it's not guilty because we don't care. it's wauz we have work to do. i think greg is right. i think the members of this committee have work to do. just as we have some deadlines coming in with the snows, we have a deadline. we want to get our bill done. we need to work as hard as those farmers and get something done for the people of this country. >> the gentle lady yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madame chairwoman, i appreciate the opportunity to be part of this conference. i can state as a relatively new member who makes up a third of the house of representative these days. the way we worked together, the
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deference we showed one another and the respect we showed one another was emblematic when i became a member of congress. i'd like us to remember that. there's a lot of way to get divided here. we have agreed on a great many things. our senate colleagues and our house eluded to many of these. we're doing some modernization of forestry. there's a host of thicks that i think we can agree on. we should emphasize those. we both agree that insurance is the way to go there. there is some concern about it being an open-ended trough, taxpayer experience and i expect this group to deal well with this issue in a thoughtful way. >> we had the same discussion going on with some of our nutrition programs. to be honest, the $40 billion
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figure, it's not a real figure. i don't think there's any member of this conference. it really believes that's a legitimate number. again, i look toward a more robust discussion. i think that's something that we should be able to figure out and work on at the end of the day. and then there's the crop insurance piece. that's a legitimate difference of opinion coming from the pacific northwest. i'll let my southern and midwest colleagues battle that one out. but i will point out, there are two poison pills on the house side version that caused me great concern. it's no longer germane. it wasn't germane to start with. that's restricting states to deal with one another. it's not constitutional.
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it's a commerce clause issue. that's easily not the jurisdiction of the ag committee. restricting the ability of products to be sold is a road we do not want to go down. the other one came up on the floor of the house with the ability of people to get nutrition assistance whether it's food stamps or whatever, but at this point in time, when many, many millions of americans are still going hungry, as a result of the greatest recession, they've spent their savings, nay eve lost their home. this is not a time to make sure that these folks are discriminated gernsz at the end of the day. i really feel that's the area of a different jurisdiction. las point i'd make. if we don't get this job done here, i can guarantee you our leaderships would be glad to get this job done.
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they do not know what you know about nutrition. if we do not reach an agreement emphasizing what we agree on, not what we disagree on we will lose control of the farm bill. i really think the ranking members. advocate for our jurisdictions and let's get on with it, folks. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from north dakota. >> thank you, mr. chairman. very pleased to be a member of this conference committee. i want to begin by thanking you and ranking member peterson adds where he will as chairman stabinaw. i'd like to express my thanks for your hard work. the work we're doing here is
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very important on behalf of our farmer's and ranches, no question bt it. this is important work for our country. good foreign policy benefits every single america. every american benefits. 16 million jobs, directly or indreblgtly, rely on ags culture and a positive balance of trade. this is absolutely the kind of work that we need to get done. we are general rating billions. when you combine that with a long-term farm bill, a five-year farm bill, you also generate economic growth.
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and that economic growth will not only help ri deuce the deficit as well, but it puts people to work: this is important work for all americans. lit's remember, this touches every single american in a very positive way. some of the keys i'd lieblg to em fa sies in this bim,en hansed crop insurance. i've heard from across my state that farmers and rampblers wanten hanszed com snurnsz. that's absolute lip a priority. we need to continue the sugar program, the livestock indemnity program for our producers. we need conservation rules that make sense in the house vergsz, you do not tie the conservation compliance to crop ininsurance. i think that that is the right
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approach. obviously, under the current program, thaen you're also tied to the conservation radioradiorequirements. where he need strong research for ag productions. we need to support those programs. >> the senator was kind enough to mention some of the work that we've done on a bipartisan basis. she's been an absolute leader in some of the conservation programs. this could make a real difference in terms of water management and a big difference to help prevent frooding. the last one i'll mention, we need to make it safe, eligible. this can make a huge difference
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for wildlife and for our sportsmen. it's a great program and i look forward to working on it with you. this benefits all americans. and i very much look forward to working with all of you to get this farm bill done for the good of oir country. >> the senator e yields back. >> my thanks to chairman lucas, ranking member kaufmann. . .
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this conference is long overdue. now, while we are one step closer to the end goal, most would agree we still have some heavy lifting before this conference. at the sub dmit tee, we have spent years along with the range of other issues under our preview. through this work, we've made improvements with a name towards efficiency and value. reforms under all three titles create savings wheel improving outcomes. both the house and senate
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address this manner through different means, it's my hope that we promote the health and well being as effectively as possible. the biopreferred language in title 9 or the forced products fairness act, has bipart zn su posht. this is a much-needed change. these are just a few small but key deferences that are d deing of tsupp subcommittee's immediate jurisdiction i'd like to make note of several differences and the broader bill particularly under very and nutrition titles. under the very title we must move forward towards a more market-based system. both the house and senate bills repeal the old price support programs and shifting a margin interest program. there are some bipartisan concerns the remain with inclusion of any kind of supply
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management program. i believe this program is the wrong approach and will always serve to further distort markets under my stability. while limiting innovation and industry growth. furthermore, under final passage of the very important package. they need to reforms and nutrition titles have been recognized by both chambers. these are serious issues which have been the subject of a lot of politics from both sides of the aisle and am hopeful we can refrain from continuing down that road. the goal is to be twofold. protect the taxpayers and our most vulnerable populations. i can assure you these are not mutually exclusive ideals, and i'm confident that we can find a compromise worthy of support from both parties and chambers. i look forward to working with all of you as the process moves forward. a few mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i for safety thanks because i
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was worried that the person was dead last on the side that meant that i was going to have to wait until the very end on the back and forth, back and forth. so i appreciate it. i thank you for it and i would have had a great education bill if you would get me to begin. and i want to thank you and the ranking member for your leadership. we appreciate it and admired it in our chamber also, chairwoman stabenow, for your incredible leadership, and ranking member cochran, for your sustained effort in getting us to this point. i feel privileged others have said to be part of this committee and i join those have said that this is the way we should be doing our work in this congress. this is the way that we are going to be able to regain the confidence of the american people, not with the rock croaking -- throwing and the brick throwing. but working together in a bipartisan i came away. that is the expectation of our farmers and ranchers.
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driving hole dollars $40 billion agriculture economy, it is critical that we work to our differences to complete this process. mr. chairman, if i could sum up what i've heard in the nearly 30 listening sessions we had all across colorado on this topic, the message is very, very simple. work together to give us the certainty of a five year farm bill. work together to give us the certainty of a five year farm bill. the senate farm bill reflects bipartisan principle to practical compromise. they know the house has been working towards the same objectives. we've identified priorities, streamlined duplication and broken away from old inefficient habits. we ended the day, finally, of automatically issuing payments to farmers regardless of economic need. and we strengthen crop insurance that protects the farmers on colorado's eastern plains
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against southerly, persistent drought conditions. as colorado continues to break its own export records, it's a dairy sector has been effective at finding markets overseas. our bill moves away from price production on planted acres which will strengthen our farmers ability to export. we should be forward looking to arrive at a commodity policy that supports this vital area of potential growth in the farm economy. our bill make strategic investments in additional areas of innovation and growth. as others have said, it provides crop insurance and industry led research and promotion for organics, an industry that is greeting jobs at a rate of four times the national average. it provides mandatory funding for energy programs, a huge creator of new wealth in rural colorado. mr. chairman, we need a strong conservation title with robust resources in the final bill. when disaster strikes like the horrible floods that we were
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facing in colorado, it's programs that provide immediate aid to struggling producers. our conservation title and inclusive to include a provision to get the agriculture secretary flexibility regarding requirements need to finalize conservation. something that is critical to our farmers and ranchers in the west about to pass their farms and ranchers down to the next generation. ithis prodigal idea comes straight from colorado's farmers and ranchers. our bill would place more land in conservation by once again linking crop insurance participation to basic conservation actresses. as for public land conservation we upgrade the healthy forest restoration act of 2003, to prioritize payments, and national forest plan struck by insect outbreaks including colorado's beetle kill. of the bipartisan senate agreement for extending colorado's good neighbor authority to our national forest. and, finally, thank you as a former school superintendent i have seen firsthand how access
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to food and life success are closely intertwined for our kids. no program written in washington is perfect. structure has proved effective during the period of high need and we need to find a path for that respects all people affected by this farm bill. with that, mr. chairman, i yield. thank you. >> sender yields back to the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you and breaking number peterson as well as chairwoman stabenow and ranking or copper and for all your hard work and dedication. i want to thank the staff of the many hours of work they put into this effort. let me set as elegant what else you i very much want a farm bill. i look forward to working with the members of this conference to try to me to achieve ago. being from massachusetts the are many important parts of this farm bill that will impact my state, and new england. the gary conservation and especially crop provisions are especially critical but a part
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of the country i represent and i strongly support full and robust dairy conservation especially crop provisions in the final conference report. i'm also pleased to see both the house and senate included language to close the animal fighting spectator loophole. both bills would prohibit knowingly attending an animal fight will bring a child to an animal fight and urge my colleagues to support these provisions. i'd like to spend my remaining time on the issue of hunger. i remind my colleagues as chairwoman stabenow did in her opening statement that no matter what we do with this farm bill, a 5 billion-dollar cut to step automatically go into effect in just two days. it would be 11 billion over three years. on average this cut would mean a reduction in monthly come in the monthly snapper benefit of about $30 for a family of three. that's about 16 fewer meals per month. i think it's shameful, but it's going to happen on friday.
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we have a hunger problem in this country. it's not fashionable to talk about it. it's not a comfortable conversation to have, but it's a fact. there's not a single congressional district in the united states of america, the richest country in history of the world, that is hunger free. 50 million americans struggle every single day to get enough to eat. and it's hard to be poor, very hard to be poor. we must not make a bad situation even worse by putting on even deeper cuts. i regret to say that the house bill as written would do just that, by cutting $40 billion of our most important and effective and efficient program that helps millions of americans put food on the table. the house bill would result in 3.8 million hungry people being removed from snap altogether. about 200,000 kids would lose access to free school meals and about 170,000 veterans will lose
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access to s.n.a.p. these are more than just statistics. behind every number is a human being. a child or a senior or a neighbor or a veteran who was struggling and who needs this modest benefit. and let remind every member of this conference committee that outside of children and seniors, the majority of able bodied adults receiving s.n.a.p. do work. but they make so little that they still need help to put food on their tables. those who don't work are struggling to find a job in the still very difficult economy. and it is unconscionable and unacceptable that we would make their lives more difficult. so let's be absolutely clear, the house bill, especially with regard to nutrition, would make hunger worse in america. like everyone else on this conference committee i want to see a robust comprehensive farm bill. i am willing to be flexible. i am willing to compromise. i am willing to cooperate. i am willing to be reasonable. our farmers deserve a farm bill.
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america deserves a farm bill. but i will not support a farm bill that makes hunger worse. and none of us should do that. with that i yield back the balance of my time spent the gentleman yields back to bounce of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from montana, senator baucus. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i deeply appreciate it. all of us spent last week and their home states with the people we work for, and the message was clear that they're not happy with what we are doing here. lost faith that congress can work for them. to our chance he is to begin restoring some of that lost faith. the farm bill is about jobs. we've seen prices, weather -- faced enough unpredictability. they want more certainty and we can deliver it.
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tomorrow, montana voters will deliver the first shipment of heifers to south dakota ranchers wiped out by the recent storm. i'm proud of that generosity but we shouldn't have to do it alone. -- critical come one of the many areas i think where we all agree. still, our differences are stark. the house proposed farm programs won't work for montana. montana farmers will be faced with a difficulty guessing future future prices and yields in order to choose between two programs that address very different kinds of risk. and neither of these programs would be affected because farm level option essential is in large counties, which we have where one farmer can get bailed out while another has a record you. target price is to planted acres runs the risk of undermining decades of reform by influencing planting, very important decisions made across the
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country. and we must carefully consider how best to honor our international trade obligations. american producers depend on the opportunity. there are many areas beyond that when we need to find agreement. more than 70% of s.n.a.p. households and montana have children. in the richest country on earth, there's no excuse for kids to go hungry. we need a solution that doesn't hurt folks who need help the most. timber jobs to panama strong forest conservation program and tools. we have distinct priorities. i'm going to stand up, fight for those in montana just like i expect all the rest of us to fight for priorities in their home states. but if we listen more than we talk, we can produce a bill everyone can probably support. this is my sixth farm bill and i'm determined to leave montanans and a country with
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certainty they can count on. success depends on working together. our nation is watching, let's show people that congress can work within. and i might say, mr. chairman, i can remember the 2008 farm bill. it was a wonderful conference. wonderful. you will recall. we sat there, bipartisan, bicameral around the table, and we learned a lot about agriculture in different parts of the country. i learned about avocados, apples, peanuts and cotton and so forth, a lot of folks learned a lot about winter wheat and it was a very good session. we listened. we found trade-offs, helped each other out in the best sense of the term. it was compromise. i must say, too, i'm reminded of the celebration yesterday of speaker tom foley. tom foley was one of those wonderful persons i've had the privilege to have ever known.
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i don't know anyone with more integrity, more intelligence, more grace, more decency, more hard-working. and the hallmark was compromise. tom foley was a public servant and the best sense of the term. he cared about the fifth district in washington. he really cared about finding solutions. i urge all of us to remember speaker tom foley and remember what we can do here, and also remember that people are really fed up with us and women opportunity here to do something that makes some sense. that's what we are here. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i think the center and its and the yields back. i turned the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and madam chair. it's an honor to join you and the colleagues here today to be a part of this conference committee. i'm confident that as we work
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together we can a college somethings over the next few weeks that will result in a farm bill that's good for our farmers, good for our agricultural industry, good for the american people. as we said it today and begin these negotiations, cotton, and other crops are being taken georgia. a producers and ranchers have built their families and livelihoods on the successful agricultural industry now more than ever need the certainty of a five your farm bill. the harvest will soon be over and in a few months farmers will begin preparation for the 2014 farm year. talking with the banks and securing operating loss. soon after they will be turning without the certainty of a five your farm bill, this would all be very difficult. if not impossible for many of our family farmers and producers in georgia. to achieve this i will have to meet in the middle on many different issues. i urge my colleagues not to consider compromise of edward during these discussions. there's a number of specific goals i hope we can achieve together. first, as we all know our
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country has a diverse agriculture industry. no one program can meet the needs of all sectors. our producers need choices and safety news. as by grandfather always said, farm bills should only be for the bad times. not a good times. nothing that we do get guarantee anybody a profit. provide producers with a choice of revenue safety net and price war programs is extremely important to second, i know the nutrition program has been contentious issues throughout our discussions. our focus should be on changing the culture of these programs, provide recipients with a lifeline when they need it most while creating a greater economic opportunity for these individuals to rise beyond the circumstances which have led to the need for this support. after serving 14 years in the state legislature, i believe it to show programs can run under greater efficiency by the states. i hope we can set these programs on the path for future state
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administration. ultimately these programs should meet the goal of temporary assistance for which they were created while also helping those they serve on the path of self-sufficiency and earned success. another issue in need of resolution is current national pollutant discharge elimination -- elimination system. the process, permitting requirements for pesticide applications are a perfect example of duplicative regulation with no public value. application of such pesticides has already been evaluated by the epa and under the federal insecticide fungicide act they have been approved. if these current policies remain in place to u.s. farmers will be required permit is for pesticides for such purposes at the epa has already deemed it safe for use. with current language provided in the house bill, farmers will not be subject to the duplicative permitting for pesticides that have already been approved for use to finally mandatory country boards and labeling remain at the forefront
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of the wto cases. this case has potential to cause significant damage our agriculture industries. over the past year wpt aol has ruled in favor of challenges -- possibly penalize u.s. billions of dollars. resolution of this is a necessity. again, i look forward to working with my colleagues to address these issues coming to an agreement and providing farmers and ranchers with certainty for another five years. with that i yield the remainder of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair would ask the chairwoman of the senate, my understanding somewhere after the 5:0 5:00 hour there's a potential for vote in your body? >> yes. yes, that is correct. >> i would note to my colleagues the senate ranking members will stay as long as the apostle again but that gives us a sense of urgency. with that i turn directed at the gentleman from washington state. >> thank you, mr. chair. and i'm very pleased to be your
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and to have the farm bill conference committee action officially starting today. i want to thank the chairs and the ranking members for all of your leadership in getting as he. as the only con free from washington state i understand how important this is for us. agriculture is the $46 billion industry and employs 160,000 people. my district has thousands of farms producing hundreds of millions of dollars of goods and is the nation's number one producer of red raspberries. for my home state and across the country, it's simple. passing a farm bill means healthy families and a healthy economy. as a member of house agriculture committee, i'm proud that we worked in a bipartisan manner to address the farm bill. we didn't always agree but we put politics aside to find solutions, and i'm hopeful we can continue this positive working relationship and deliver a farm bill that's good for our farmers, our families and the food supply. settling for another extension is not good enough.
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it creates uncertainty for our farmers, stymies critical research, and negatively impacts consumers and the economy. a comprehensive farm bill should include funding for specialty crops which represent more than one-third of the valley of all crop production per year. we need to increase funding for programs like the specialty crop research initiative, specialty crop block grants and the national clean plant network which give us a great return on our investment. a final phone bill should include increased funding for programs that support our local organic farmers, and the growing number of certified organic operations around the country. we also must work to protect the safety net which millions of working families, seniors and children depend on. s.n.a.p. and other nutrition programs help nearly 47 million americans keeping over 22000 my district alone from going hungry. reforming a program is one thing. arbitrarily cutting a program and recalling it reform is
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another. i believe we can find common ground to bolster programs that help people to be education and job training necessary to be self-sufficient. this is why i thought the inclusion of funds to expand innovative education and job training programs that have been so successful in washington state. in addition the farm bill should include a dairy security act. i'm hopeful that we can come together and agree on reforms that will safeguard our exports, protect producers and shield consumers from price volatility. as the most trade dependent state in the nation, washington depends on programs that open up new markets and support exports like the market access program and the foreign market development program. excellent examples of a profitable, public-private partnership. there are so many other issues that must be addressed. am also committed to finding a solution that works for everyone on country of origin labeling so no companies business is threatened. we must also avoid harmful enemies that have no place in
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the farm and will only make it more difficult for us to reach agreement. for too long our nation's been without a farm bill. we were sent to congress to advocate on behalf of our constituents and to find solutions. farmers and families across the country are depending on us. let's not let them down. let's work together and pass the five your farm bill that our country needs thank you and the you back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama, ms. roby. >> i'm grateful for the opportunity to serve on this conference committee and to work towards a solution on this very important bill. also want to thank the staff of both committees for all of your hard work over the past several years. and for the passover years we've been working on new farm bill that would meet this country's agriculture and economic needs while enacting important reforms in farm and nutrition policy.
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and i'm very, very pleased that today that process is moving forward. this farm bill is a legislative priority for the people of alabama's second congressional district. i have hosted numerous townhouse, held regular sit downs with our own agricultural advisory panel and visited farmers throughout my district. i'm proud that alabama is home to multiple land-grant universities that play an important role in developing new farming techniques and technologies. and, in fact, this when i sat down with the present of auburn university of learned about their cutting edge research that is shaping the future of agriculture. alabamians also recognize that this bill needs to contain the kind of reforms that show congress a series about changing the culture of spending and government depends. our country needs agricultural policy that makes sense. we need regional equity that allows the same opportunity and protection for all types of
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commodities, not just those in certain areas. we need an epa that helps farmers come fly with the necessary regulations, and not aggressive police like agencies bent on punishing those who are just trying to yield a crop. with indirect payments to farmers we must transition to an insurance system that allows planting fo flakes ability. and it's time to consolidate programs administered by the usda. our country also needs a nutrition policy that makes sense. they will continue to play an important role in taking care of our most needy americans. but the program exists to help lift those up to have hit bottom, not keep them there. like president reagan said, the success of her welfare program should be measured not by having the government can enroll but how many families can get off and become self-reliant. thank you i know that the number of differences between the house
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and senate bills but i'm confident that we can find common ground. as many have said here today in this room, we have a very unique opportunity in this conference committee to -- and make life work for americans. by working together we can be the example to the rest of the conference and show the nation its elected leaders can deliver on the half of the american people. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from ohio, congresswoman fudge. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. madam chairman, thank you. today we begin the long overdue farmville conference. while it will not be easy to reconcile the differences between the senate and house bills, that is exactly what the american people are counting on us to do. farmers and families across the country deserve certainty and stability. so let's work across party lines and produce a comprehensive farm bill which will recognize the
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undeniable link between feeding and farming. as ranking member of the house agriculture subcommittee, with jurisdiction over nutrition issues, i am very concerned about language in the house bill that attempts to deny this long-standing university accepted link. not only does it cut supplemental nutrition assistance program, s.n.a.p., to the tune of nearly $40 million, it offers three years of all of the programs for five. both represent unnecessary and radical changes in our nation's agricultural policy. the house but eliminates categorical eligibility and incidentally of states to waste snaps harsh limit to three months within a three-year period for americans without a job. we all know snape benefits will automatically be reduced when the 2000 recovery act temporary benefit boost ins november 1. costing needy families as much as $300 per year according to
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the cbo. s.n.a.p. is the first line of defense for the most vulnerable among us and helps ensure millions of americans have access to food. the fact that the house even proposed and passed a bill with such unconscionable -- is beyond me. we do not turn our backs on farmers seeking help with crop insurance, and we certainly should not turn our backs on hungry americans. according to the environmental working group, taxpayer subsidized 62% of the cost of farmers insurance premiums. some subsidies can be as much as 100% of the cost of the most basic coverage level. crop insurance is the only farm income support program not subject to some form of means testing. that is why i support the senate language which reduces the level of premium subsidies for farmers with an adjusted gross income over $750,000. some of my other concerns include the mandatory funding
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level for outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. the inclusion of central state university as an 1890 land grant institution, and the ability of schools to serve more fruits and vegetables under the fresh fruit and vegetable program. resolving these issues and others will not be an easy task. but it is the one interested to us. i look forward to working toward a collaborative solution. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes a member who certainty understand how wicked mother nature can be, i recognize the gentlelady from south dakota. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate all of my colleagues being here today. it's been years we've been working on this on the and so i'm thrilled to be at the table today. in south dakota we've recently been reminded about why getting a farmville done is so important. just a few recent ranchers in my state faced an early blizzard i killed tens of thousands of livestock. it devastated family operations,
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killed horses, sheep. one of the ranchers was telling me that the storm hit so hard and so fast they found a rattlesnake curled up on top of the snowbank. they didn't even have time to take shelter. it was 17 hours of rain followed by dropping in freezing temperatures, 70-mile an hour winds that turn into a blizzard that lasted three days. cattle literally walked off of cliffs. they walked into creeks. they drown in rivers and they piled on top of each other and smothered which leaves them eligible for no insurance. that's why we of livestock disaster programs because they have no safety net and they are struggling today to stay in business. i've talked with the owner of rainbow bible camp who lost 90 head of forces in this storm. he'd write me a letter that he got from a little girl that comes to the camp every year. she's nine years old in which he wrote, part of what she wrote with what i heard about all the animals that you lost and i'm very sad. i hope we can have camp next summer. a miracle is coming. i can feel it. i will be praying.
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folks today i think is fun though could be part of that miracle. it will cover a portion of the loss. it will not make these people but it may keep them in business and that may help this little girl go to camp next summer. she said and $28.39 made up of mostly change and a few bills and she thought, she wrote i thought you might need this. i will try to get more. every little bit counts. that's why we're here today. we can come together and get this thing done. this little the represents the way our nation has come together in support of the agricultural industry and ensure that we have a safe and affordable food supply. that truly is what it is about. the livestock disaster provisions that offered in the house bill would cover a portion of those losses, help some of those ranchers get back on their feet. for our top -- crop producers, protect our prayers act that represented walls work with thee on this incredibly important. it's accountable to taxpayers, gives savings but also ensures we have some conservation methods as well.
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we need to ensure that form the works for all producers though and i'm confident we can include a prominent office of tribal relations to improve access to farm pro-guns were native american committee. i had many am i tried to me they said they do not access the programs that don't get enough communication to do so. a prominent office would ensure the have the chance. we need to ensure the food stamp program that is responsible but helps those who needed. wiccan uphold the integrity of the program, keep it safe from vulnerability into the future. we should adopt the much-needed regulatory relief that we include in our house passed a bill, section 1013 of our bill that ensures we don't have duplicative and a necessary permitting requirements of pesticides. i also want to talk about the house national forest critical area responsible but it applies some common sense to addressing the pine beetle epidemic we face in a force throughout the west. it's painfully obvious when you look at our force their turning into a tinderbox. it's an emergency situation and people's lives are at stake.
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we are one lightning strike away from losing towns and communities throughout our heels and we need to go in there to address the issue when we have a chance. communities depend on our forests and they are key to our western economy. the approach in the house bill is reasonable, necessary and it will give us tools to manage our forests the way we should have done years ago. i'm hopeful the senate will come to the table, find a solution that works effectively for our national forests. what we should strive for in this farm bill is that will work for producers in our state and our nation as a whole. we all have concerns while -- about certain aspects of the bill. i'm sure it will not end up exactly what we write on her own but despite the differences i'm sure we can come together and bring a safety net to agriculture to this country. i look forward to working with the chairman and the chairwoman, and all my colleagues, and we're going to get this thing done. thank you. >> congressman denham. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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it's an honor to be a part of this conference committee, as well as a farmer representing california's central valley. the largest act state in the nation, 81,000 farms, $45 billion revenue annually, 400 different commodities. california grows half the countries fruit, nuts and that you. we're not looking for subsidies. we just want a fair shake. we want to have prioritization of research and development dollars. well to have trade promotion program. we want to have passed and disease prevention programs that don't allow our different industries to be devastated. these are simple things that can be rectified within the farmville that keeps not only california's agricultural economy competitive but keeps our national ag economy competitive on the global market where also the number one garry state in the nation. we need a workable very title that does not limit produces from reaching their true potential. and as somebody who serve in the
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state senate and was chair of the aggie committee in the states and i believe in states' rights. states have the right to develop their own ag laws but we must protect those rights to make sure our own agricultural production laws are protected. section 11 through 12 of the house bill threatens many different state marketing animals and plant protection laws. the nutrition program is also an important piece. our school lunch program should be based on nutrition, making sure our kids have the healthiest lunch possible, making sure that the food they get, the fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part but we should be considered in all forms because it should be based on nutrition for our kids. that's something i'm looking forward to seeing in this bill as well. as well, work requirement i believe that the house bill is the first reform to the s.n.a.p. program since 1996, encouraging able-bodied individuals of working age to seek employment.
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let's get people back to work and utilize america's precious resources to help those in the greatest need. mr. chairman, i yield back. it's an honor to be on this committee. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis. >> thank you, chairman lucas, and thank you to effort at this table. i'd like to take a quick moment to wish a belated happy birthday to our colleague, marcia fudge. i come from the land of lincoln. in fact, that district i represent as part of lincoln's old congressional seat. his home, his presidential museum and library and his team. president lincoln did a lot to advance agriculture in this country. and, in fact, in the span of three months abraham lincoln signed into law an act to great the department of agriculture, a lot steps in grant university system, and the homestead act. now, if our predecessors can do all that in three months, we ought to be able to take
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october, november and december and pass this bill. crop insurance, i come to this table as a staunch defender of crop injured earlier this year just two floors above us, secretary vilsack testified that crop insurance is working. this is a crucial risk management tool that requires our farmers to purchase a policy and then experienced a verifiable loss before collecting a dime. that's called having skin in the game. it's far preferable than tens of billions of dollars worth of ad hoc disaster bills. not a single penny in disaster assistance was requested after the midwest experienced a drought last year, and we have the crop insurance program to thank. we should be encouraging participation in this brogue ram and i support the house provisions that strengthen this vital safety net. regulatory relief in addition to crop insurance by farmers and producers to make they need relief from regulation to introduce an amendment against reforms a place at the table
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when epa is considering regulations that impact agriculture. this provision would also require economic impact statements to trigger a review panel where farmer recommendations would be considered. this isn't effort i work close with chairman lucas and ranking member peterson on, and i appreciate the bipartisan support. with respect to nutrition programs, the house and senate have agreed there are reforms we can make. we are told unemployment is going down. yet we continue to have a record number of americans using s.n.a.p. by addressing their heating loophole as both gyms have done, instituting stronger work requirements as the house has done, i think there's a lot here worth examining. on a separate track with regard to provisions in this bill that the with the food served at our schools, it's important to note the schools in my district want the flexibility to serve what their students with the. finally, both chambers recognize
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the importance of reauthorizing university research programs. i represent an outstanding land grant institution in the university of illinois. i want to thank chairman lucas fofor supporting the ally in the colors on his tie today at this hearing. the research they have pursued through the agricultural and food research initiative with the national institute for food and ag is an important initiative that i have supported. as one of the only freshman on the conference committee, it's an honor to be at this table with a group of folks want to get this bill done. i came into work and i'm hopeful we can continue the bipartisan momentum of the warda bill and veterans bills the house passed this week. our farmers world america and all of america are counting on us. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back to the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. southerland. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank you and ranking member peterson, chairman stab in and ranking
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them are talking. thank you so much for convening this conference committee on the 2013 farm bill. i would also like to convey my appreciation to each number sitting around this table and the hard work that you put in over the last several years but the agriculture industry forums a backbone of the 12 world counties of florida second congressional district. so your shared commitment to advancing sound agriculture policy is greatly appreciated by my people. in particular, chairman lucas, i want to thank you for your friendship and your leadership in the house. i've said many people you deserve a purple heart for getting us to this point, and i thank you for your patience and your hard work. i am honored to participate in this process, both as a former member of the house banking committee and as the only member of this conference committee from the state of florida. the second largest specialty crop producing state in america. this farm bill represents a
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critical step forward for our farmers. growers and ranchers. and i look forward to doing all that i can do to help restore the certainty that they deserve. the federal agricultural reform and risk management act of 2013 makes meaningful reforms to strengthen our rural communities. it provides greater risk management tools, sustains our working forests, includes market based dairy policies, specialty crops tools, and vital regulatory reforms. all while streamlining federal agricultural programs for hard-working rural families. i'm also pleased that the house approved bill includes two provisions that i helped craft and sustained the economies of our rural committees. the bipartisan building rural committees act ensures that small, rural areas have access to this technical assistance and training necessary to enhance local infrastructure, all at no
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additional cost to america's taxpayers. another provision that we fostered with subcommittee chairman thompson would ensure that would products qualify under the usda's bio-based marketing program. furthermore, the nutrition reform and work opportunity act of 2013 makes commonsense reforms to the supplemental nutrition assistance program, ensuring that the truly vulnerable families receive the support they need in more efficient and effective manner. by advancing the valley and the blessing of work for healthy able-bodied adults, this legislation follows the proven bipartisan path for success laid out by the democratic president and republican congress during the welfare reform of the 1990s. i look forward to working constructively with colleagues from both chambers and both sides of the aisle on the farm bill conference report that empowers our agriculture
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stakeholders and families who are vulnerable and who need to do. i appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this important process, and look forward to sustaining and strengthening agriculture production in america. mr. chairman, thank you and i yield back. >> the gentleman recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. marino. >> thank you, chairman. madam chair and ranking members. first, chairman, i ask unanimous consent that mr. royce, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee who was unavoidably call the way, have his opening statement submitted for the record. >> seeing no objection, so ordered. >> thank you. hard-working farmers and my district and across the country working each and every day to provide food for those around the world. in return they make a simple request to us in congress.
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certainty. i live in the middle of five farms, beef, dairy, hong, poultry, sheep and goat. and in addition to the crops, and also my state of pennsylvania, agriculture is its number one industry. farmers want certainty for the crop prices uncertainty from oppressive rules and regulations come and certainty that lawmakers will not use them as tools for political gain. crop insurance, for example, gives farmers the certainty in the aftermath of a natural disaster, just as farmers in my district experienced last year with hurricane irene. last week i learned from a local family-owned business back home that is being forced to layoff 18 employees because the slow economy was too much for the company to bear with the strain already felt from hurricane irene's aftermath. it's a staple of northeastern
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pennsylvania. they had been canning tomatoes, beans and vegetables since 1921, and have employed over 200 people. businesses like theirs are the backbone of american agriculture. these are the businesses that need lawmakers to work together to finalize a long-term farm bill so they can have a little more certainty amongst the chaos. in addition to certainty for farmers we must also do what is right fiscally and morally. this means eliminating waste fraud and redundancy when possible to save taxpayer dollars. it also means taking steps to further deter the negative culture of illegal animal fighting which we does reprobation i worked with with a colleague across the aisle, and i thank them. the animal fighting spectator prohibition act, which i reintroduced this congress and already have 217 cosponsors,
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would eliminate the ability for the organizers of the animal fights to pretend to be spectators in order to avoid prosecution under federal law. it would also make it a crime to knowingly take a minor to an illegal animal fight. i am pleased that both the house and the senate have included similar language in their version of the farm bill. as a former prosecutor i know that the illegal drug and weapons deals that take place at animal fights, and how they are often hot spots or other criminal activity such as prostitution. just last week, two men in miami-dade were murdered while participating in an illegal cockfight. it is time we stand up against the cruelty of animal fighting and help protect the animals and the people harmed by these fights, i including the senate language against animal fighting in the final conference report. i think you and i yield back. >> gentleman yields back.
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and for a couple of housekeeping elements i would ask unanimous consent for the use of proxies on the part of the house during this conference. seen no objection, see no objection, see no objection, so ordered and no, i have been remaining order to gentlemen from new york, michigan and the gentleman from texas. the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, is recognized. >> thank you very much, chairman. chairman lucas and chairwoman stabenow, ranking member peterson and ranking member cochran for calling this conference me but i also like to thank leader pelosi for many as a contrary. i know members have worked very hard on these bills, and i feel privileged to be a part of this process. as all of you know the foreign affairs committee has jurisdiction over title three of the bills before us which includes international food aid and export promotion measures. i'm going to focus most of my remarks on food aid reform but also want to mention that new
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york is the third largest dairy state, and i'm the only new yorker on this conference. i also wanted to address several other areas of concern to the bills the drug would affect my congressional district in the state of new york, specifically a strong oppose the cuts to s.n.a.p. when so many americans are still recovering from the effects of the worst recession in generations. i urge my colleagues to reject the cuts in the house bill which would disproportionate impact the ability of elderly, children, and those less fortunate to feed themselves. i hope we can work these issues in a way that doesn't hurt people you are in desperate need of help. i would also urge this conference committee to include strong conservation and animal welfare provisions in the final conference report. i believe the conference should maintain our current sugar policy which will help protect american jobs. as the ranking him of the house foreign affairs committee i'm frequently reminded that our system for delivering food aid abroad is an outdated vestige of the 1950s. let me say that chairman royce agrees with me.
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it takes far too long to get food aid to starving people, wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and often aren't agricultural markets in the countries we're trying to help. in these times of budget belt tightening we need to find a better, more efficient way to district at eight. the provisions in title three and the senate bill are modest, commonsense reforms that will help the u.s. save more lives with her overseas the assistance while painting inefficient practices that waste u.s. taxpayer dollars. while i support all of the food aid reform included in the senate bill i'm particularly supportive of section 3008 which would increase flexibility in choosing between cached page resources or commodities, thereby reducing the reliance on the wasteful practice of monetization. specifically, this provision would allow our food aid programs to include up to 20% cash funding which would allow the u.s. to use those appropriate tools to respond to
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emergencies, including local and regional procurement, cash transfers, vouchers and agricultural commodities. i would note that the 20% cash flexibility provision in the senate bill is now -- included in the admin that chairman royce and i offered to the house foreign bill on the subject which received unprecedented support from our colleagues, and almost a majority. as we face food insecurity crisis in syria, somalia, and the drc, usaid is charged with the unenviable task of deciding who won't get the food aid they need because their backs of the ability to purchase food locally. the bottom line is that these artificial restriction on our ability to respond to humanitarian emergencies must be reformed to make our programs more flexible and efficient. i urge my colleagues to adopt the senate reforms in title three. i thank the chairs and my colleagues, represented and royce and tom berlin for their leadership on international food aid in the foreign affairs committee, and i yield back.
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>> the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you so much, and looking about, i so admire everybody else the tenacity of especially the four of you. tenacity is an understatement. debbie, senator stabenow, we have talked often about how long this is taking. and i think this provides a rare, to date, rare bipartisan opportunity. the provisions within our domain upland, cotton and sugar program, we leave to your good judgment. as long as you maintain the necessary provisions that we are obliged t to do under our international responsibilities. so if i might, i just want to
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take a minute to speak more personally. our family owns some agricultural acreage, just a little bit. there's some apple trees that are always filled with worms. and we have a raspberry patch that went bad -- [laughter] and picked a few asparagus that they call in this agricultural area, as debbie stabenow knows, as spear grass. so i'm not an expert, to put it mildly. i do want to say something though personally about snape -- s.n.a.p. in our suburban district, there are 48,000 people who relied on nutrition assistance. and when i've talked to
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teachers, and these are in suburban school district, in many cases they have a jar in the classroom filled with food. because children come to school hungry. one of the large food banks is in the district i represent. and 17% of the population, they serve face food insecurity. and 70% of them do not utilize s.n.a.p. so there is a severe nutrition challenge to millions of families in this country your as you all know, the average amount available is 450 a day. that's the average. and with some of the colleagues in the house, i took the challenge and lived on $4.50 a
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day for a week. and i just urge everybody but themselves in the shoes of these families. and i finished with this. our member going to a pantry in a parish that i represent, and talking to the families of their. and these are families in need. thank you for hearing me. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes, i believe, for the concluding comments, the gentleman from texas. >> thank you. you'll be happy to know i've got it real short. but good afternoon. i appreciate the leadership that chairman lucas and ranking member peterson have shown throughout this process. i look forward to working with chairwoman stabenow, ranking or cochran and all the other members of this committee to
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produce a sensible and comprehensive farm bill. i represent a district that includes about 140 miles of the south texas gulf coast, and virtually all of the king branch except for the part that is in florida. my district have significant time, sugar, citrus, grain and livestock interest. on the house side we approach the farm bill with an understanding each of these commodities have their own particular variables, and took an approach that address those differences. farmers who are currently planning the planting season needed certainty of the reauthorized farmville so they can plan accordingly. we must come to a reasonable agreement on title for cuts. my district is one of the highest members of stepped recipients in the nation. most of these recipients are elderly and young come and we cannot allow a chopping block approach to s.n.a.p. to deprive these countries elderly, young and need a very basic human substance.
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again, there's a lot of work to be done. i look forward to working with everyone and getting a farmville reauthorized for the next five years. >> gentleman yields back. the conferees have before them copies of house bill h.r. 2642, and the senate amendment. the legal language comparisons and a section by section comparisons. as we're about to conclude our business today, does the chairwoman have any concluding comments? >> well, mr. chairman, i just want to thank you again, and thank all of our members. i think we're off to a great start. it's very clear to me that everyone wants to work together and get this done, and so we will. so i look forward to continuing and completing this process. >> the chairman recognizes himself. i think the chairwoman is exactly right. we've come a long way down a very difficult path. we still have challenges to overcome. but we can't and we will. and with that this meeting of
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the conference committee is adjourned, subject to the call of the chair. spend senator patty murray, the chairman of the budget committee, came to the floor on tuesday to urge senators to work together on issues including budget negotiations, the debt ceiling and the sequestered budget cuts. her remarks are about 10 minut minutes. >> mr. president, earlier this year a man named william who is from gig harbor, washington, my home state wrote to me to express his frustration with what he saw happening here in congress. william served in the navy and he now works for a take-up rate that supports navy communicate and in the pacific northwest. and like so many americans in recent years, he has witnessed hiring freezes and cutbacks and furloughs and laos. he said a couple years ago he was -- laos. he considers himself just lucky
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to have a job. and he's not even sure how long he can count on that. well, mr. president, william is not alone. the partisanship and the gridlock here in washington, d.c. has been devastating for families just like his and my home state of washington and across the country. the government shutdown at the debt limit brinksmanship last month were just the latest examples. but congress has been lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis for years, and it has got to end. so mr. president, today i'm going to share a few stories from families who have been paying the price for the dysfunction here in congress. i have worked very hard to make sure voices like theirs are heard loud and clear in the budget process. .. towards a balanced and bipartisan budget agreement. mr. president, seven months ago, the house and the senate each passed our budgets. the senate budget that we passed
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here was built on three principles. first of all, our highest priority was investing in jobs and economic growth and prosperity that was built from the middle out, not from the top down. secondly, the deficit has been now cut in half, and we build on the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction that we have passed now since 2011 to continue to tackle this challenge fairly and to continue to tackle the y and challenge fairly and responsibly and third, our budget keeps the promises we have made to our seniors and families and communities. the budget that passed the house reflects different values and priorities but it was our job to get in the room, make some compromises with them and find a way to bring those two budgets together. although i hoped we could start this bipartisan budget negotiation far sooner and
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avoided last month's crisis the budget conference that has begun started last week offers us the opportunity to break this cycle of gridlock and dysfunction and start moving our country back in the right direction. we have a chance to turn our attention back to where it belongs. strengthening our economy and creating jobs, continually making responsible spending cuts while closing wasteful tax loopholes that are used by the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations and finally show the american people that congress can work together. we can compromise and alleviate the uncertainty and the pain that families across the country are facing. the effect of these years of gridlock are clear in places like the denise louis education school, i visited that head start program where pre k
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students from low-income families concerned there abcs and take part in story time and benefit from health and nutrition programs. even before the major head starts that affect, that center have a waiting list. now the director of the school has had to drop kids from that program because of tight budget constraints and another head start program in washington, a program that served needy kids since the 1970s had to completely shut its borders this summer because congress couldn't work together. that one facility was helping 40 kids prepare for kindergarten. nationwide these cuts forced tens of thousands of children out of head start as well and that is not all. the senseless cuts from sequestration have impacted education programs all across the country. researchers and scientists who are working on cures for cancer and other diseases of lost their
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jobs. programs like meals on wheels that deliver food to seniors have been cut and there's so much more. the ripple of the so-called sequestration has been felt in homes and businesses and across our fragile economy. across the board cuts have also had of course serious impacts on defense programs and workers. earlier this year i heard from one of my constituents whose family was impacted directly. his name is bob from washington, an engineer at the puget sound naval shipyard. he told me every day highly skilled employees come into his office, often in tears and tell him they don't know how they are going to make ends meet if they are furlough or laid off. they are worried. they felt the pain for months. they know it could get worse. mr. president, if these automatic cuts are not replaced
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in a bipartisan deal, another $20 billion is scheduled to be cut from defense spending in january just a few months from now. that would make more furloughed and layoffs more likely and would need continued and difficult cuts to combat training. mr. president, it doesn't have to be this way because something democrats and republicans agree on is at the very least this budget conference should be able to accomplish the absolute minimum, finding a path to replace those terrible sequestration cuts and set a budget level for a short term. republican congressman how rogers, house appropriations committee chairman, he said sequestration and its unrealistic discretionary cuts must be brought to an end. even house speaker john boehner said the cuts would hollow out our military. just recently the house armed
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services committee, republicans, send me a letter urging us to replace sequestration saying it was, quote, never intended to be policy. mr. president, that is exactly right. sequestration was intended to be so bad it would drive both sides to the tables to be willing to make some compromises to replace it with smarter savings and i am glad more and more of our colleagues from both sides of the aisle are stepping up to try to find a solution. the question now is not whether she -- we should replace across the board sequester cuts but how we do it. the house and senate budget both field sequestration in different ways. the house budget fully replaces the defense had, they pay for that by cutting even more deeply into key domestic investment. senate budget on the other hand
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replaces all of the automatic cuts and pays for it with an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and revenue that we raised with tax loopholes. finding a bipartisan solution won't be easy. we all know that. it will require compromises from both sides. if i mention that the first budget committee conference last week, i am going into this process ready to offer tough spending cuts that unlike the sequester caps disappear in 2020 to would be permanently locked into the law. i know there are many republicans who would be very interested in swapping some of the inefficient and damaging cuts from sequestration with structural changes to programs that would save many multiples of the cuts over the coming decades. in short i am willing to compromise. i am ready to listen to
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republican ideas. as long as their proposals are fair for seniors and families i am prepared to make tough concessions to get the deal done but i can't negotiate by myself. compromise has to run both ways. in addition to responsible spending cuts, republicans need to work with us to close wasteful tax loopholes and special interest subsidies because it would be unfair and unacceptable to put the entire burden of deficit reduction on the backs of our seniors and our families and it shouldn't be difficult for republicans to agree to put just a few of the most egregious, wasteful loopholes and special interests on the table to get it balance in a bipartisan deal. if the choice is between closing wasteful loophole and working to another crisis i hope everyone of my colleagues put their
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constituents before special interests. mr president over the last few years, people across the country have lost a great deal of confidence in congress's ability to work together for the good of our nation. people like 90 king, a registered nurse at madigan army medical center in my home state of washington. during the shutdown last month she worked without pay and without a paycheck she had to dip into her retirement account to make her monthly mortgage payment. even though the shutdown is over her family can't take any chances. she told the times, quote, we have too much to lose. mr. president, we here in congress of it to her family and families all over this country to work to find a path forward. let's put an end to these crises, let's show the american people, we are listening to
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them. let's show them their stories are more important than sticking to party lines or staying in ideological quarters. we have to we rebel -- rebuild trust. we have to work together to strengthen our economy and create jobs. i am ready to do that in this budget conference. i am hopeful over coming weeks every one of my colleagues on that committee will make it clear that they are as well. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> the chief senate sponsor of the employer nondiscrimination act, senator jeff merkley of oregon spoke on the senate floor urging passage of the bill. he spoke about the history of the measure and quoted senator edward kennedy to a regionally introduced the bill in 2009. this is 25 minutes. >> mr. president. >> senator from oregon. >> i appreciate the comments my
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colleague from maryland who has argued so well that the time has come to take a bold step in favor of equality, in favor of fairness and pass the employer nondiscrimination act. i too rise to speak to the importance of this action. the declaration of independence in its second paragraph says in words that are famous and well known to all americans, we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, said that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. certainly that vision of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is confused into everything we pursued in this nation and the success of individuals, success of our families and our communities and
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success of our nation. in the debate on which we are about to embark, deeply connected to this debate. because certainly the ability to be free from discrimination in the pursuit of a job and to be free from discrimination in the course of employment is central to that pursuit of happiness, central to the issue of liberty. i rise today to say how important and vital this is to millions of americans for whom discrimination has blocked and compromised the vision way out in the declaration of independence. this bill, this framework for any discrimination employment, senate bill 815 is born with a
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lot of bipartisan partners who are like to thank at this moment. it was back in 2009, my first year in the u.s. senate that senator kennedy and his team asked me to take leadership of this bill that he had held near and dear to his heart to carry the torch forward in fighting for fairness and employment, fighting an end to discrimination. since that time many have stepped forward to be partners in this journey. senator collins was the first chief co-sponsor from the republican side stepping forward and taking her voice and her energy and experience and insight to bear. after two years she passed the baton to senator mark kirk, a longtime champion of the vision of fairness and equality for all americans. both of them have done an
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astounding extraordinary job with this dialogue. on the democratic side we have first and foremost senator kennedy, whose courageous leadership for many years including back in 1996 when we have this on the floor of the senate now return to that in due course. the champion for civil rights in many different parts of our world including race discrimination, gender discrimination and discrimination against the bill ddt --lgbt community. and carried this bill forward through two hearings in 2009-2012, who carried it forward in the markup this last year and prepared to send it to the floor, thank you, senator harkin, for your leadership.
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and senator baldwin who came to us with her personal story, her experience of leadership from the house to extend the conversation here in the senate and carried on so many individual meetings to speak to these core issues of equality and fairness and opportunity. thank you to this bipartisan set of sponsors and thank you to everyone who last night said yes, we should debate this issue. we should debate this issue of discrimination blocking opportunities for millions of americans, so shortly we will be engaged in that debate. after the declaration of independence we have the preamble to the constitution and this also is well-known to americans across the land. we the people of the united states in order to form a more
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perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america. here we have this core concept of justice and the blessings of liberty for that generation, generation that would follow. what exactly is liberty? what is freedom? senator kennedy in 1965 in his commencement address to howard university said freedom is a right to share fully and equally in american society, vote, to holds a job, enter a public place, go to a school.
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senator johnson continued, it is the right to be treated, president johnson continued it is of the right to be treated in every part of national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. i think it is a pretty good description of what liberty and freedom mean, the right to participate fully in american society, in every respect at the voting booth, in the job place, in the public square as you would choose to participate. the employment nondiscrimination act which ends discrimination against lgbt communities rooted in the best of american values, the concept of liberty and freedom in our founding documents and founding vision. it is rooted in the concept of fundamental fairness. al hunter is it if an individual who is seeking to apply to a job cannot have a full opportunity for that job, full opportunity
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to thrive because of discrimination? how fair is it because of who you are outside the workplace that you are fired from the workplace? let us think of the golden rule. we all run this early in life, we should treat others according to how we would want to be treated. we all want to be treated with respect and dignity, that president johnson referred to. it is a vision of equality in the declaration of independence and opportunity rooted so deeply in the american dream. the idea that in america, if you work and study hard, you can do just about anything. that is a vision my father gave to me when he took me to the schoolhouse when i was small and said if you go through those doors and study hard here in
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america you can do just about anything. but discrimination takes away from that vision of opportunity. it says if you study hard here in america you can do just about anything unless you have a certain color of skin, unless you have a certain gender, unless you have a certain gender identity or sexual orientation. we struck down many of those barriers. we have advanced on this vision of the quality but we have further to go. that is what this debate is about. in 29 states you can still be fired from the job. you can still be told not to apply in the beginning because of your sexual orientation or your gender identity. in 29 states. it should not be the case that
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the vision of the quality and fairness and opportunity happens to occur on one side of the state line, but is destroyed if you cross that state line because this vision of opportunity and fairness and equality in our constitution and declaration of independence and say this vision is only a few living in particular stage, only if you live in the 21 states that have protections for or lesbian, gay and bisexual community or only a few live in the 17 states that have protections of employment for our trans gender community. the journey of this legislation began in 1974. it was a year after stonewall. 39 years ago. ed koch introduced in the house of representatives legislation
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that would ban job discrimination and it took 19 years before such legislation was introduced in the u.s. senate and hearings were held in labor and human resources committee in 1994. two years later the bill was debated here on this chamber, right here in this very room, and the outcome was 49-4, 50 against, with vice president gore sitting right now in the presiding chair where the senator from hawaii sits. vice president gore had already clarified where he stood. we were missing one senator and one vote and the result is 17 years since this conversation was held in this chamber, 17 years of discrimination through so many states across america.
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it is time to end that discrimination. and enhance the vision of equality and fairness. today we have a bill that has before us 55 co-sponsors. when we think about that 49-50 vote we might say isn't this a done deal? there are 55 co-sponsors. you only need 51 or 50 plus vice president to pass the bill in the u.s. senate but it is not a done deal because in the last decade and a half the senate has gone from being a simple majority chamber as envisioned in the constitution to be in the chamber where every action takes a supermajority vote. we needed a supermajority of 60 to get on to the bill last night and everyone anticipates we will need 60 votes to get off of the bill, close the base and have a
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final vote. that is not what has been with us for 200 years but the last ten years, the courtesy of extended debate has been turned into the veto of a supermajority but that is where we stand right now and we need 60 votes and we had 61 last night to get on this and every one of the 61 senators stood up and said yes stephanie ambrose tubbs years. time to debate this issue ended is right to consider an issue of fairness to millions of americans. it is right to recognize that we should have a debate about the impact of discrimination on the ability of the individual to have full opportunity in our nation so thank you to the 61 senators who stood up last night. have no doubt, discrimination is alive and well.
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share with you a story of laura from portland, ore.. before oregon, had nondiscrimination clauses adopted in 2007 and she notes that from 1918 to 1996 work for the josephine kerri office in oregon, she had the rank of sergeant, she was promoted often, she worked in a variety of capacities including as a swat team commander. a detective in major crimes unit. during 16 years, she says i received numerous combinations. including combinations for an automobile accident, victim from a burning vehicle, delivering a baby on the roadside. a man intent on harming himself, disarming. you was awarded for her expertise and diligence in a number of complicated criminal
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information that she was a transgendered individual. and because of that she was fired. stellar career in every aspect. but a break into her storage unit plus discrimination ended that career. she and her commentary, saying employment nondiscrimination laws been in effect i likely would have continued serving the citizens of josephine county to this day and we know from her employment record she would have been well served. that was before oregon adopted anti-discrimination legislation. many people have written to share their stories, thank you for continuing this fight against discrimination. i am retired now but i did lose a job when i was young for being a lesbian. into later life i stated deep in
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the closet to keep from losing another job. all the nondiscrimination bill's help us to define who we are as a people, she continues and underscore is our belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for every american. by one survey, far more than a third of individuals, lgbt individuals, have experienced some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. that is of tremendous impact on the pursuit of happiness. that is a tremendous shrinking of freedom and liberty as envisioned in our founding document. our vision for this nation. there are number of issues that have been raised as colleagues talked about this bill before it comes to the floor here and i wanted to address some of them.
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first, this bill is fully inclusive. it includes the lesbian, the gay, bisexual and the trans gender community. it should be fully inclusive, because discrimination is wrong. discrimination shrinks opportunity. discrimination is an offense against liberty in freedom in full participation in society. of course this bill should be fully inclusive. as it is, in 17 of the 21 states that have laws on their books right now. a second issue has been concerned about lawsuits. we heard this yesterday from the speaker of the house. we have all of these pilots, if you will, 21 states with measures on the books, all kinds of experience alive ask the general accounting office to do a study of the issue of lawsuits
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and what do we find out? there has been no abuse, no extraordinary stream of unfounded lawsuits against businesses, no damage to business, none at all. in oregon, lgbt discrimination claims are less than 2% of the total number of employment discrimination claims. that is less than one out of 50. in range from 2% to 6%, a small number and the business community has remained self supporting, far more than half, it close to 90%. the fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination practices they have adopted on their own. they have adopted because it is good business. nike in my home state of oregon
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says, quote, it is good for business. for our employees and for our communities. continues the statement to say that inclusive nondiscrimination policies, quote, enable us to attract and retain the best and brightest people around the world. that is why fortune 500 companies have lined up to adopt nondiscrimination provisions. one is good for liberty, what is good for opportunity is good for business. >> we are going to leave the last few moments of the senate debate from yesterday as the u.s. senate is about to gavel in. formal debate on the employment nondiscrimination act begins today in the senate. the bill would ban employers from using sexual identity or gender orientation in hiring, promotion and firing decisions list of amendments are expected
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to be offered including ones related to protections for religious employers. folks manhattan during today's session as well. live coverage of the senate on c-span2. . the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
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eternal god, every good and perfect gift comes from you alone, for with you there is no variation or shadow of turning.

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